Appetite and Limiting Hunger

“It is necessary to handle yourself better when you have to cut down on food so you will not get too much hunger-thinking. Hunger is good discipline and you learn from it.”

—Ernest Hemingway

Our bodies have natural needs and desires. When we need more our bodies start telling us. Our appetite defines what it is we seek to satisfy our hunger.

I have a regular dinner menu that is simple, healthy, and satisfies me. I’ve had the same thing for dinner three or four times a week for nearly the last six months. I’m intrigued by foodies but wonder about their appetite. Are they so driven to explore the palates of different recipes and cultures that they are unable to enjoy the simple staples anymore? I enjoy great food but it’s not something I depend upon. My hunger is elsewhere so I choose not to spend the time and money on searching for recipes, shopping, and cooking. I focus my appetite on other things.

What is it you’re hungry for? If it’s something broad like “success”, do you know what the next steps are for you to “succeed”? What if you’re hungry to make that clackity noise as much as you can? If that’s your hunger, it can be satisfied if you just keep on writing. Do you know what can satisfy your hunger?

It’s great to be hungry for big ideas, big change, and big successes but having an appetite for the simple staples that will lead you to something bigger helps focus what you pursue.

Patrick Rhone, in his book enough, puts it perfectly:

When one defines intention, values, and purpose, limitations create themselves.

When we define what we’re hungry for we recognize what other things matter less. Limits are created; not limits as to what we can attain, but limits on what we choose to pursue. Focus.

When we “get too much hunger-thinking”, as Hemingway puts it, we are distracted. We think about all the different things we want to do, most of which we never pursue. Learning how to suppress your hunger for things that don’t matter turns your hunger to the appetites that do matter.

Be hungry for things that are bigger than you. Be hungry for things that are true and good. Have such an appetite for them that you will suffer for and because of them. Suppress your appetite for anything else.

Find your hunger and stay hungry.